OPM are featured in August’s Handbook for Certification and Accreditation (published by Whitmar / Flexotech magazine) with an article about how OPM focus and innovate in their in-house training program.

Training the Future

As developments in the global printing industry continue to move at a rapid pace, it is vital that printers recognise the importance of highly skilled workers; ensuring that employees develop their skills can have a massive impact on a company’s bottom line. While training has always been key, an aging skill base means it is now a necessity to ensure younger people are given the opportunity to develop the skills to grow and maintain the work force of the future.

To deliver this companies will not only need to increase the volume of available opportunities, but also change the way they deliver their programmes to meet the changing needs of the industry, from both a technological and process standpoint. Rolling this out will need to encompass in house production apprenticeship schemes, training for new machinery / product launches, online courses and programmes that can aim to improve the skills of the current workforce – upskilling constantly.

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OPM’s In house training programme, which started in early 2012, is a prime example. OPM has invested in new training tools and facilities to grow its current workforce, recruiting people to focus on core competencies within the business (Customer Services, Repro, Print and QA). It constantly updates its training programme, in line with industry standards such as ISO, BRC and GMP process “We are using a number of training tools to ensure a strong skill base continues throughout the business,” says Susan Ellison, who drives OPM’s training strategy.

Specially designed department training guides in the production facility provide ‘near the job’ training, OPM has also appointed a number of master trainers to develop and deliver training, “This is key to the often-faced challenge in the print industry of keeping skills and competencies within the business and passing them on through generations,” says Ellison.

While Ellison believes that the OPM Group is already seeing tangible improvements, the training programme is an evolving project that will change over time to maximise the benefits for the workforce and meet OPM’s business needs. “We’ve been delighted with the start we have made, but the future looks even stronger,” states Ellison. “As well as training in house traditionally on the shop floor the company also promotes a graduate programme which is in its fourth year. We have an onsite library of books available to all staff and offer print industry recognised training programmes externally and online.

We believe this offers an exciting and inspiring education programme at OPM for young people seeking a pathway to employment in print as well as the perfect opportunity for those already established in print to develop further.

This is not to say that the training initiative has been without challenges. One significant problem that exists for any professional development programme is to make sure the training will generate concrete results. “There is ongoing debate and discussion about measuring the bottom line of development and training,” says Ellison. “OPM’s approach has been to involve key stakeholders across the business, this gives us a greater understanding of line manager and staff development needs. Having this involvement from the outset ensures we can design the right development programme, make it fit for purpose and have clear measures in place that we can all monitor.

“The added benefit of this is for the learner – they fully understand why they are attending training, and being jointly supported by their managers and the development team means they can maximise their learning in and out of the training room.”

“We also recognise that sharing knowledge and expertise within our organisation is an important part of our development – identifying our expert knowledge, developing and sharing this across technologies whilst creating a close working partnership with our core of key suppliers. OPM’s suppliers are also a key source for product training and development that lead to spreading knowledge between our companies and lead to innovation in products and process.

OPM’s approach to skill development and training reflects the importance of ongoing learning for employees across the print industry. “Print is an increasingly competitive industry, we are constantly looking for new technologies and innovations,” explains Ellison. “This often means the need for bespoke training, working with our own teams and supplier partner’s for flexible solutions. Providing the workforce with the skills to adapt to constant change and acquire new knowledge and competencies is key.

Read the full article at: http://flickread.com/edition/html/5992b5e23eb09#22
(Note: registration required)